The Teaching Route
Whether you fancy a career change, or it's something you've dreamed of achieving since you were little, teaching is one of the top job choices for many people. But how do you secure such a role?! It takes time, hard work, a lot of patience and dedication, but we guarantee it'll be worth it. Here are Staffroom's words of wisdom to guide you to success...
The Starting Line
With such a big decision to make, wouldn't it make life so much easier if you could test the ropes before making those first big steps?! Well with these handy little suggestions you can. Try approaching local schools to see if you can observe classes, shadow teachers and if you really want a taste of teacher life, you could volunteer to help regularly as an unofficial classroom assistant. The Student Associate Scheme (www.teach.gov.uk) allows you to spend 15 days in a classroom, assisting teachers and experiencing what teaching is really like. This experience may help you decide if you really want to teach. Plus can use it in your application as evidence of interest and commitment, which will help persuade people of your abilities.
The Basic Requirements
Getting good basic qualifications is the first step towards becoming a teacher. You must have the equivalent of at least GCSE grade C in English and Mathematics. If you want to teach in primary or key stages 2/3 (up to the age of 14) you also need the equivalent of at least GCSE grade C in Science. For the older generations, it is just as easy to gain these qualifications later in life as many colleges provide GCSE courses for more mature students. These are often provided under the Life Long Learning scheme and are free or reduced cost, so it offers everyone and anyone the perfect opportunity to possess them, hurrah!
Okay, so you've had that first taste of classroom life, gained your GCSE's and can't wait to make your mark. What next? Anyone wanting to teach in England and Wales must get a degree and complete initial teacher training (ITT). There are many different routes to consider all depending on the desired age group and subject that wish to teach. As well as a degree, you need qualified teacher status (QTS) to become a teacher.
The Different Routes
'Bachelor of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BSc) with QTS'
This option allows you to specialise in a certain subject (for example, maths, physics, chemistry or languages), while gaining your honours degree and QTS.
'Bachelor of Education (BEd)'
This is an honours degree course that specialises purely on education. BEd degrees are available for both primary and secondary teaching, but are a particularly popular choice for those who are more interested in taking a career as a primary school teacher.
These types of routes typically take three to four years full-time, or four to six years part-time, and combines a degree with initial teacher training. It is useful to take note that a minimum of two A-levels or equivalent is usually required.
The PGCE course is one of the most popular routes into the teaching life for many postgraduate students. Courses can be taken full-time (1 year) or part-time (2 years) and mainly focuses on developing your teaching skills, rather than just the subject that you wish to teach. For this reason, you are expected to have a good understanding of your chosen subject and therefore a UK undergraduate degree or a recognised equivalent qualification would be a necessity to access this type of route.
Employment Based Teacher Training:
You could also consider a more hands on approach. The Graduate Teacher Programme (GTP) is fantastic for graduates that want to gain QTS whilst working in the classroom. A person must work in a school as an unqualified teacher in order to participate in the programme, which can last from anything up to a year. You can take this direction by visiting teachertrainingcymru.org. The closing date for 2014 is the 28th March so get your applications filled out and sent in today!
A Helping Hand
In Wales, bursaries run from £1,000 – £15,000, you can find out more about these at www.wales.gov.uk. Welsh students can also apply for a tuition fee grant of up to £5,425 if studying full-time and NQT's can receive a taxable bonus of up to £5,000 for subjects such as maths and science or £2,500 for subjects including design and technology and modern languages. There's all sorts of great websites to calculate your outgoings, loans and how much you will have to pay back overall, so there's no need to fret about the money side of things. For more help on topics such as these, you can visit www.studentfinancewales.co.uk and it'll do the maths for you!
Whichever route you take, Staffroom wishes you the best of luck in all of your future endeavours, we'll see you in the classroom!